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The Skyline Post

The Skyline Post

The Skyline Post

A2Virtual+ vs. Michigan Virtual: Which is better?

Editor’s note: this is an opinion piece

Credit: Sari Woo.

If you’re looking for more flexibility in your schedule or fewer in-person class hours, online school could be the solution for you. Ann Arbor Public Schools offers two systems for online classes: A2Virtual+ and Michigan Virtual. 

A2Virtual+ uses different learning platforms (APEX, Edgenuity, or ALEKS) depending on the class.  It is designed for students in the AAPS system.  Michigan Virtual is used by students throughout Michigan. 

When choosing to take an online class, should you take classes through A2Virtual+ or Michigan Virtual? Let’s compare the two.

As a student who has taken multiple courses through both A2Virtual+ and Michigan Virtual, I would choose Michigan Virtual over A2Virtual+, although both have their own benefits and downfalls.

In my experience, Michigan Virtual is less stressful. 

Depending on the class, it may offer two attempts on quizzes, and you are able to see what questions you get wrong on the majority of them. In contrast, from my past experiences in some classes through APEX (A2Virtual+), you are unable to see which questions you get wrong, defeating the entire point of taking the quiz: to see what information you’re missing and need to study. You’re also only allowed to answer one question at a time, and once you submit the answer to that question, you cannot come back to it, making it more stressful. A lot of the time when I don’t know an answer to a question, I skip it and then come back to it. With APEX, I was unable to do that.

Michigan Virtual offers a wider variety of classes, including a wider selection of AP courses. AP courses in both platforms contain hard deadlines, meaning that if you turn in an assignment or quiz within one week of the deadline, your earned score will be reduced by 20%, then reduced by 40% if turned in a week or more later. This can be a good and bad thing – it motivates you to stay on track, but it also causes a lot of stress. Extensions can be granted, however, under certain circumstances. 

Classes that are not AP through both A2Virtual+ and Michigan Virtual have soft deadlines, meaning that there is no penalty for turning in late assignments. It can be less stressful in the short run, but ultimately, soft deadlines can cause overdue assignments to build up and students to fall behind.

Both APEX and Edgenuity (on A2Virtual+) and Michigan Virtual contain multiple forms of media, however Michigan Virtual offers more flexibility with the type of media you would like to use. All three contain practice questions that help you retain your learning and information, which I personally find very helpful. 

Comparing the three platforms (APEX, Edgenuity, and Michigan Virtual), taking courses through Edgenuity can be tedious, as most of the material is learned through videos broken into segments with interactive activities. You cannot change the playback speed, and you must watch the entire video to move on to the next activity/test, so it is incredibly dull to sit through all the videos. Although it is thorough and ensures that you don’t skip through the material, having to watch the entire video is just super annoying; for me, taking notes from a video takes much longer than taking notes from text. 

There is mostly text in APEX courses, and there is an AI read-aloud function. There are also images and short videos. 

Michigan Virtual has text, a read-aloud function, visuals, and it also provides supplementary videos/text from other resources like Khan Academy, so you can take notes using the media you prefer the most. Also, both AP Michigan Virtual and A2Virtual+ classes align with the AP Curriculum, so it is very easy to find corresponding supplemental materials for both classes.

It is easier to communicate and meet with your teacher in A2Virtual+ classes. This is because your teacher is local, so you can set up in-person meetings with them if needed; for example, you could discuss test questions or results. However, your Michigan Virtual teacher can be anywhere in Michigan, or occasionally, even in other states in difficult-to-fill subject areas, making it harder to communicate. Some teachers only respond once a day, which is standard professional response time, however this makes conversations through emails and planning meetings difficult and tedious compared to meeting in person.

The way courses are organized in A2Virtual+ classes is easy to understand, and it seems more professional than Michigan Virtual. The platforms that A2Virtual+ uses (APEX, Edgenuity, and ALEKS) are very organized and clean-looking. The Michigan Virtual curriculum is mostly organized as well, as it is developed by both instructional designers and subject matter experts; however, depending on the class, Michigan Virtual lessons and tests may contain poor formatting and typos, although there is a process for resolving errors if reported by the student. These can be annoying and confusing to the student, but a quick Google search usually resolves the student’s confusion. 

Despite imperfections in Michigan Virtual, I still prefer it over A2Virtual+, as it offers a larger variety of classes, two attempts on quizzes, and different modes of learning. Additionally, the content is taught in more depth. 

Because its teachers are more difficult to reach, if you are considering using Michigan Virtual, you should be confident in your ability to self-teach and be independent. Otherwise, A2Virtual+ is probably the better option, because teachers are easier to reach and test questions and curriculum are more guaranteed to not have typos.

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About the Contributor
Sari Woo, Writer
Sari Woo ('24) is a writer for the Skyline Post. In her free time, she likes to play tennis, do origami, and crochet.